HELP! Where do I start? The answer is simpler than it sounds.
Homeschool 101 Workshop
*Homeschool 101 for 2020 has been cancelled, due to COVID.*
Learn the legal freedoms and requirements to homeschool in Texas as well as information, tips and tricks to help you start your homeschool journey with confidence, while trusting God to guide your choices.
Veteran homeschool moms will be available to answer all your questions and share what a typical day looks like at their house.
You will leave with a packet of information about local resources and other information relevant to homeschooling. This workshop is designed for those who are just beginning.
Lunch will be provided. Cost to attend is $10/person (covers lunch and materials).
Space is limited, so sign up now!
Here are a few thoughts to get you started.
- Homeschooling is legal and a viable alternative to public and private schools. Homeschools in the state of Texas do not require state regulation. There are nuances to this, but basically, private schools and homeschools are treated the same. For more legal information about homeschooling in Texas, start here: http://www.thsc.org/Categories.aspx?Id=Getting+Started
- “Socialization” takes place both inside and outside of the home. With all that is available to homeschooling families in our area, from sports to academics and special interest activities, many find that they struggle to actually be HOME schooling and have ample opportunity to interact with others. Children learn to communicate with younger children, peers, adults, and like-minded individuals through daily interaction with other homeschooling families, with adults encountered in weekly errands, and more academically-oriented environments like co-op. Scouts, church activities and recreational sports round out the opportunities available to homeschoolers wanting to interact with their peers.
- Don’t rush into anything! The decision to homeschool is a careful and prayerful consideration. Despite that, new homeschooling families often pile too much on their plates (worried about socialization) or spend too much money on curriculums (worried that their children will fall behind their public-schooling peers). Take some time to reconnect with your children. This is especially important when pulling a child from public school where he or she has spent any length of time. Mothers used to having several hours alone to take care of business may come into conflict with a child who has expectations regarding his day at home with mom. A couple of weeks simmering in each other’s company allow families to make better choices about curriculum. The time “lost” is easily recovered with the curriculum that fits your family’s needs.
- Keep “home” in “homeschool”. Educating at home is easier when you recognize and include home activities in your curriculum. Often the first temptation is to set up a school-like environment at home complete with classroom, teacher’s aides, desks, etc. These things can be helpful, but do not necessarily facilitate teaching your family’s beliefs, character, work ethic, and unstructured play which allows for creative discovery. The lessons learned for a lifetime are often those which are modeled in our homes and probably incorporate the reasons you decided to homeschool in the first place.
- Finding a curriculum: learning and teaching styles. One of the best advantages for homeschooling families is that education can be tailored to learning styles of individual children and the teaching styles of parents. Some children are advanced learners, some need additional attention. Others are self-motivated and will learn with very little direction. Some are hands-on learners while others prefer reading. Others are creative and like to spend time looking for the newest fun way to learn. Still others feel “safer” if someone else puts the program together for fear of missing something or of the subject itself.Cathy Duffy’s 100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum is a great way to peruse popular curriculum picks if you’re overwhelmed by the choices available to you. The book also categorizes curriculum by learning and teaching styles. Many of her reviews are online at: http://cathyduffyreviews.com/ An article that might be helpful: http://www.focusonthefamily.com/parenting/schooling/effective-home-schooling/choosing-a-home-school-curriculum
- Planning and organizing. Aside from the actual work of teaching and discipline, planning and organizing can be one of the biggest challenges to homeschool. No one way is right for everyone. A spreadsheet and calendar will work wonders, but parents can also find everything from premade spreadsheets and homeschool planners that include meal and activity planners to online tracking software. It really just depends on the family.Home organization can also be a continuous quest for the perfect system but what works one year or for one child, may not work the next year or for the next child. In general, many homeschool families find that a dedicated space for books and papers is essential in keeping life manageable. A dedicated workspace can be helpful for those who find that school works best if completed within a continuous session or for children who are easily distracted. It is easy to spend a lot of money on organizing your space but take your time and see what works for your family before investing in any expensive organizational system. The simplest things work best.
- Find support. Without support from a spouse, family and friends, homeschooling can be quite intimidating and overwhelming. A local homeschool support group offers ways to connect your family to others who can encourage the homeschool journey, provide mentoring, and share curriculum choices from Pre-K to high school. Support groups usually provide a forum for questions and do not offer classes as co-ops do.Co-ops also offer community to homeschooling parents through age-appropriate classes. They also answer a need for children to spend time with peers or take subjects that work well in a classroom situation. Parents meet while working or teaching because most co-ops require parents to remain on campus and provide a helping hand in exchange for low cost classes. While the co-op environment does look like the traditional classroom, parents remain in control of their child’s education. Co-op classes may not fit the needs of every family and because they can require long hours outside the home, should be considered carefully.
- Pray, pray, pray. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11) so be in constant prayer for your homeschool journey. You’ll be surprised how often God will open your eyes to things well within your reach (and often right under your nose!) to help you through your days.